Netflix is reportedly considering streaming its first-ever boxing match as it prepares to enter the world of live sports.
The streaming giant has engaged in discussions about streaming a match featuring popular boxer and YouTube influencer Jake Paul, as well as a potential bout between boxers from Premier Boxing Champions, a show currently airing on Paramount’s Showtime, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Friday (Nov. 3), citing an unnamed source.
This potential venture into boxing would mark a significant step by Netflix into the realm of streaming live sports, a move that its executives have been debating for years, according to the report. While the company has previously shied away from live sports due to the escalating costs of sports rights, it seems that Netflix is now exploring new avenues to expand its offerings.
Although discussions are still in the early stages and there is no guarantee that a boxing match will be streamed on Netflix, the company has already dipped its toes into live events, the report said. On Nov. 14, Netflix is set to stream its first live sporting event, “The Netflix Cup,” a golf tournament featuring athletes from its Formula One documentary, “Drive to Survive,” and its show following professional golfers, “Full Swing.”
The decision to potentially stream a boxing match comes as many other streaming services have made live sports available on their platforms, per the report. Companies like Amazon and Alphabet’s YouTube have paid substantial amounts for the rights to stream live sports events such as National Football League (NFL) games.
It was reported in September 2022 that Amazon’s broadcast of NFL Thursday Night Football attracted a record number of new Prime subscriptions for a three-hour period, topping events like Cyber Monday and Prime Day.
However, Netflix has been hesitant to follow suit. Co-Chief Executive Ted Sarandos stated earlier this year, “We aren’t anti-sports, we’re pro-profit,” indicating that the company’s stance on live sports may change, according to the WSJ report. Netflix has already seen success with sports programming, with shows like “Quarterback,” which followed three NFL quarterbacks last season and became one of the streamer’s top 10 shows for several weeks this year.
Streaming a single boxing match would provide Netflix with an opportunity to test the waters without committing to a full season of the sport, the report said. This move could also help promote Netflix’s documentary about Jake Paul, titled “Untold: Jake Paul the Problem Child,” which was released earlier this year. Paul currently has a deal with global sports streamer DAZN for two fights.
Premier Boxing Champions is seeking a new home after Paramount announced the shutdown of Showtime Sports, which includes boxing, at the end of this year. Amazon has reportedly expressed interest in streaming the matches, per the report.